Morrissey Hits All The Right Notes On “I Am Not A Dog On A Chain”
“Congratulations, You're still alive.They kicked to kill you. Do not forget, they tried to turn you Into a public target: Welcome to this knockabout world!” Morrissey sings like a martyr on “Knockabout World,” one of the successful pieces on Morrissey’s 13th solo album since The Smiths broke up in 1987.
Despite alienating himself from many fans and the media due to many controversial political comments and last second concert cancelations, he has seemed to hit it out of the park in the studio with his new album “I Am Not A Dog On A Chain”. The recordings have a retro feeling, containing dark keyboards and beautiful harmonies from backup vocals. Lyrically, he utilizes his greatest skills combining misery, self doubt, multiple interpretations and criticisms of his critics. He manages to score all the above, while still creating catchy songs that play in your head all day.
He starts the album with the dreary and catchy “Jim JIm Falls,” taking set at a plunge waterfall in Australia. Waiting to see if patrons jump or “run back home,” Morrissey questions the world and how much attention people need(ala social media, I’m sure.) He ends the song by repeating a very dark and catchy chorus of “If you're gonna sing, then sing:Just don't talk about it. If you're gonna live, then live: Don't talk about it. If you're gonna kill yourself: Then for God's sake, Just kill yourself!”
Moz follows “Falls” by claiming, “Love is on its way out. Love is tired, and it's on its way out.”
Similar to his previous album, “Low In High School,” on “Love is On The Way Out,”Morrissey tackles the topic of being alone, and goes full force talking about the world’s miseries. “Did you see the nerve-gassed children crying? Did you see the sad rich hunting down, shooting down elephants and lions?”
Working with a Doors sounding 60’s keyboard and the unusual and beautiful vocals of past disco star Thela Houston, the duo talks about the obvious drug abuse of somebody they admire on “Bobby, Don’t You Think They Know?” Houston at times sounds like she’s in a gospel choir, echoing and belting out playing dead on with Morrissey’s vocals, as they talk about drug references like “Snow king, toot-and-horse:Then something worse..”
Using beautiful high pitched back up vocals again, Morrissey delightfully asks “Why can't you give me some physical love? Everything else is in place, except physical love,” on the beautiful “Darling I Hug A Pillow.”
Focussing on days gone by, Morrissey invites you in with his family and past on the rich, “Once, I Saw The River Clean” reflecting, “Soon the clock will strike for me. Childish mind anticipates:Grown-up mind consummates”
The beautiful album ends with the ballad, “My Hurling Days Are Over,” as he once again reflects on midlife and days gone by proclaiming “Time: No friend of mine” and “Time will send you an invoice:And, you pay with your strength and your legs and your sight and your voice.” The album uses every key necessary musically and lyrically to touch a nerve and to keep running in your head.
Not since the early 1990’s, has Morrisey put out an album like this, where there is no reason to skip a track and you feel so satisfied when you are done. In today’s lame music world, this album is not only a fantastic listen, but needed desperately as well. 13 albums in his solo career, and still hitting it out- Time is still a friend of his.